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A. Lebedev: “Putin is a hostage to the tradition of a corrupt country”

A blogger for Reuters has grabbed some sharp quotes from the always interesting oligarch Alexander Lebedev on the sidelines of the Investment Summit:

“The conditions for entrepreneurship in Russia are simply horrible,” Lebedev told the Reuters Russia Investment Summit.

Lebedev has plenty of suggestions how to cure the disease. One of them would be to fire at least half the bureaucrats. “They are wealthy people. Let them go to Saint-Tropez,” he said.

One could wonder how billionaire Lebedev gets away with criticism ofthe Kremlin while his peers who had dared to challenge authorities hadto flee to London or are serving prison terms in Siberia, like the oilmagnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Lebedev, a former KGB agent like Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, saysPutin is open to criticism and these are mainly mid-level bureaucratswho are causing trouble. “Putin is a hostage to the tradition of acorrupt country,” says Lebedev.

But he says Khodorkovsky must be freed and often repeats “God Forbid” when mentioning other fallen oligarchs.